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Etta: A Novel
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Random House Publishing Group 2009
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Beautiful, elusive, and refined, Etta Place captivated the nation at the turn of the last century as she dodged the law with the Wild Bunch, led by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Her true identity and fate have remained a mystery that has tantalized historians for decades. Now, for the first time, Gerald Kolpan envisions this remarkable woman's life in a stunning debut novel.Kolpan imagines that Etta Place was born Lorinda Jameson, the daughter of a prominent financier, who becomes known as the loveliest of the city's debutantes when she makes her entrance into Philadelphia society. Though her position in life is already assured, her true calling is on horseback. She can ride as well as any man and handle a rifle even better. But when a tragedy leads to a dramatic reversal of fortune, Lorinda is left orphaned, penniless, homeless, and pursued by the ruthless Black Hand mafia.Rechristened "Etta Place" to ensure her safety, the young woman travels to the farthest reaches of civilization, working as a "Harvey Girl" waitress in Grand Junction, Colorado. There, fate intervenes once more and she again finds herself on the run from the ruthless Pinkerton Detective Agency. But this time she has company. She soon finds herself at the legendary hideout at Hole-in-the-Wall, Wyoming, where she meets the charismatic Butch Cassidy and the handsome, troubled Harry Longbaugh, a.k.a. the Sundance Kid. Through a series of holdups and heists, Etta and Harry begin an epic and ultimately tragic romance, which will be the greatest of Etta's life. Then, when Etta meets the young and idealistic Eleanor Roosevelt, her life is changed forever.Blending a compelling love story, high adventure, and thrilling historical drama, Etta is an electrifying novel. With a sweeping 1900s setting, colorful storytelling, and larger-than-life characters, Etta is debut that is both captivating and unforgettable.From the Hardcover edition.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
03/24/2009
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780345512895
ASIN:
B001Y35GF6
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Gerald Kolpan. (2009). Etta: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Gerald Kolpan. 2009. Etta: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Gerald Kolpan, Etta: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2009.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Gerald Kolpan. Etta: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2009. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Gerald Kolpan is an Emmy Award-winning television reporter in Philadelphia. Prior to his television career he wrote for newspapers and magazines nationwide and was a frequent contributor to NPR's All Things Considered. Etta is his first book.

        From the Hardcover edition.

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title
Etta
fullDescription

Beautiful, elusive, and refined, Etta Place captivated the nation at the turn of the last century as she dodged the law with the Wild Bunch, led by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Her true identity and fate have remained a mystery that has tantalized historians for decades. Now, for the first time, Gerald Kolpan envisions this remarkable woman's life in a stunning debut novel.

Kolpan imagines that Etta Place was born Lorinda Jameson, the daughter of a prominent financier, who becomes known as the loveliest of the city's debutantes when she makes her entrance into Philadelphia society. Though her position in life is already assured, her true calling is on horseback. She can ride as well as any man and handle a rifle even better. But when a tragedy leads to a dramatic reversal of fortune, Lorinda is left orphaned, penniless, homeless, and pursued by the ruthless Black Hand mafia.

Rechristened "Etta Place" to ensure her safety, the young woman travels to the farthest reaches of civilization, working as a "Harvey Girl" waitress in Grand Junction, Colorado. There, fate intervenes once more and she again finds herself on the run from the ruthless Pinkerton Detective Agency. But this time she has company. She soon finds herself at the legendary hideout at Hole-in-the-Wall, Wyoming, where she meets the charismatic Butch Cassidy and the handsome, troubled Harry Longbaugh, a.k.a. the Sundance Kid. Through a series of holdups and heists, Etta and Harry begin an epic and ultimately tragic romance, which will be the greatest of Etta's life. Then, when Etta meets the young and idealistic Eleanor Roosevelt, her life is changed forever.

Blending a compelling love story, high adventure, and thrilling historical drama, Etta is an electrifying novel. With a sweeping 1900s setting, colorful storytelling, and larger-than-life characters, Etta is debut that is both captivating and unforgettable.

From the Hardcover edition.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Jonis Agee, author of The River Wife
      • content: "In this exhilarating and provocative story of the life of the mysterious figure known as Etta Place, Gerard Kolpan creates a richly conceived, passionately rendered, and wonderfully imagined novel that leaps off the page with its daring. When Etta walks into your life, you won't be able to put the book down, so prop up the pillows and get ready to ride the night through--because you're going to fall in love with this one."
      • premium: False
      • source: Karen Abbott, author of Sin in the Second City
      • content: "Kolpan has a gift for capturing the voice of America at the turn of the last century, and he uses it to full advantage, entwining newspaper reports, historical documents, journals, and his own lush prose. Etta's story unfolds in surprising ways against the backdrop of one of the most colorful periods in our nation's history. This is a writer to watch."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "The sketchy details of the life of Etta Place, outlaw and paramour of Harry 'Sundance Kid' Longbaugh, are imaginatively filled in by first-time novelist Kolpan in this winning tale of the Wild West. . . . Kolpan's snappy storytelling makes it impossible not to want to ride along."
      • premium: False
      • source: Library Journal
      • content: "Incorporating Etta's diary entries, telegraph messages, and news clippings into the narrative, Kolpan vividly tells a tale that is both outrageous and entertaining, sure to be compared favorably with Larry McMurtry's novels of the Wild West."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus, starred
      • content: "Emmy Award-winning TV journalist Kolpan extends his resume impressively with this picaresque debut novel . . . Few will have any more success resisting Etta than do the many men, women and other critters encountered during her memorable adventures. Great fun and--beneath the hijinks--a surprisingly substantial novel."
      • premium: False
      • source: USA Today
      • content: "Imaginative . . . Loaded with captivating historical detail . . . A convincing anti-heroine [readers] can root for to the end."
      • premium: False
      • source: Chicago Sun-Times
      • content: "Etta has everything you'd want in a story of the last days of the old West--fast horses, chivalrous train robbers, dastardly villains, and a beautiful damsel constantly in distress, but usually able to get out of it on her own. It's rollicking, rambunctious, rip-roaring, rootin'-tootin' . . . It makes you want to hop on a fast horse and join the gang."
      • premium: False
      • source: Times Record News (Wichita Falls, Texas)
      • content: "Packed with adventure . . . As brilliant as a summer's sunset, Etta takes you on an action-packed, 'celebrity-studded,' trail-blazing ride. . . Saddle up!"
      • premium: False
      • source: Philadelphia City Paper
      • content: "Rather than be ribald and Deadwood-esque, as most modern Westerns appear, Kolpan's chatty character-run horse opera is stately, bloody and romantic -- the lit-equivalent of Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller . . ."
      • premium: False
      • source: BookPage
      • content: "Rollicking . . . filled with colorful characters . . . Kolpan is also good at taking the reader back to the sights, sounds and smells of the early 20th century . . . A bully adventure!"
      • premium: False
      • source: Denver Post
      • content: "A richly imagined tale . . . A fast-paced adventure story, replete with gunfights and train robberies and the romance of the Cowboy West."
      • premium: False
      • source: Philadelphia Inquirer
      • content: "In this lively and well-researched novel, reporter Kolpan explores the mysterious life of 1900s figure Etta Place, fleshing out her romance with legendary Old West robber the Sundance Kid."
      • premium: False
      • source: Historical Novels Review
      • content:
        "Kolpan deserves credit for his creativity . . . Rich and rewarding . . The well-crafted narrative successfully brings to life an era and a figure lost to time."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        October 6, 2008
        The sketchy details of the life of Etta Place, outlaw and paramour of William “Sundance Kid” Longabaugh, are imaginatively filled in by first-time novelist Kolpan in this winning tale of the Wild West. After her wealthy father's disgrace and demise, Etta departs Philadelphia society and heads west to become a Harvey Girl on the railroad in Colorado, where a series of misadventures leads her to the Hole-in-the-Wall gang. Romanced by Longabaugh and the fugitive lifestyle, Place earns an integral part in the gang through her shooting and riding skills as well as her beauty and sophistication. Pursued by the police, Pinkertons, the Black Hand and rival desperado Kid Curry, Etta and the Sundance Kid make their way across the country, diving from one daring adventure to another. The novel is not without its flaws: Etta's friendship with a young Eleanor Roosevelt and her encounters with other luminaries can seem precious, and her proto-feminism feels too canned. But the wide-screen drama of Etta's life makes these choices forgivable, and Kolpan's snappy storytelling makes it impossible not to want to ride along as the characters careen toward their tragic ends.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from March 1, 2009
        Emmy Award–winning TV journalist Kolpan extends his resume impressively with this picaresque debut novel, focused on"the woman" who knew Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

        Born Lorinda Jameson and forced to flee her Pennsylvania home when Sicilian"Black Hand" gangsters plot revenge for her late father's gambling defaults, she moves to the West, first working as a Harvey Girl waiting tables at a Colorado railroad restaurant. Thereafter, the plot thickens every several pages, as the fugitive beauty now known as Etta Place turns her gun-toting and equestrian skills to violence, dispatching a would-be rapist, then hightailing it to Wyoming, where she falls for charming bad man Harry Longbaugh (aka"Sundance"); joins the notorious Hole in the Wall gang; and accompanies an ill-gotten treasure to safety in New York. There Etta encounters a virginal Eleanor Roosevelt (who, soon enough, becomes her beloved"Little Nell"), and she joins Colonel William Cody's Wild West show (where she subs for the departed Annie Oakley). Are there more adventures yet to come? Yes there are. Reconnecting with"Sundance," Etta joins him in Argentina, where Harry's newfound revolutionary ardor does not dissuade him from attempting one last robbery. Consequently, Etta returns to respectability, fortune and the matured and muted love of"Little Nell," who has been reinvented—as First Lady. Technically, there's too much muchness in this sprawling narrative, which is festooned with newspaper stories, letters (Harry's, sent to his respectable dad, are particularly delightful), journal entries and communiqus detailing investigations conducted by busy Pinkerton agents. But any reader who cherishes the beguiling tall tales spun by such masters as Charles Portis and Thomas Berger is unlikely to object. Few will have any more success resisting Etta than do the many men, women and other critters encountered during her memorable adventures.

        Great fun and—beneath the hijinks—a surprisingly substantial novel.

        (COPYRIGHT (2009) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 15, 2008
        Etta Place was not only the paramour of the infamous Sundance Kid. Knowing her way around horses and guns, she became a key member of Butch Cassidy's notorious outlaw gang, the Wild Bunch. But her name was an alias, and no one knows where she really came from. Emmy Award-winning Philadelphia television reporter Kolpan steps into the historical void, penning a novel that speculates on Etta's life. He gives her a privileged Philadelphia background interrupted by family scandal and sends her out West as a Harvey Girl. But when her good looks get her into trouble, she falls in with the Wild Bunch. Hiding out at the encampment of the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang in Wyoming Territory, she ends up a one-woman banker for the group. Later, she goes undercover in New York City, becoming dear friends with Eleanor Roosevelt and working as a stand-in for Annie Oakley in Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. Incorporating Etta's diary entries, telegraph messages, and news clippings into the narrative, Kolpan vividly tells a tale that is both outrageous and entertaining, sure to be compared favorably with Larry McMurtry's novels of the Wild West. [See Prepub Alert, "LJ" 11/1/08.]Keddy Ann Outlaw, Harris Cty. P.L., Houston, TX

        Copyright 2008 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        February 1, 2009
        Thanks to the tremendous success and enduring popularity of the Paul Newman and Robert Redford film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Etta Place is a name that history has not entirely forgotten. She has, however, been relegated to the back burner, a footnote character famous for her connection to Sundance and Butch. Kolpan rescues Etta from second-banana status, providing her with a fictional story to rival that of her more notorious male companions. Since little or nothing is known about Place, the author exercises free reign creating a richly detailed backstory for the enigmatic Etta. A former debutante forced to change her name and identity, the newly rechristened Etta is a woman on the run who heads west to carve out a new life for herself. Instead of eluding danger, she plunges directly into it when she embarks on an exhilarating odyssey fueled by both necessity and passion. Kolpan falters a bit when he introduces Eleanor Roosevelt and other historical characters unnecessarily into the mix, but on the whole, he paints an intriguing portrait of an indomitable character.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2009, American Library Association.)

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Beautiful, elusive, and refined, Etta Place captivated the nation at the turn of the last century as she dodged the law with the Wild Bunch, led by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Her true identity and fate have remained a mystery that has tantalized historians for decades. Now, for the first time, Gerald Kolpan envisions this remarkable woman's life in a stunning debut novel.

Kolpan imagines that Etta Place was born Lorinda Jameson, the daughter of a prominent financier, who becomes known as the loveliest of the city's debutantes when she makes her entrance into Philadelphia society. Though her position in life is already assured, her true calling is on horseback. She can ride as well as any man and handle a rifle even better. But when a tragedy leads to a dramatic reversal of fortune, Lorinda is left orphaned, penniless, homeless, and pursued by the ruthless Black Hand mafia.

Rechristened "Etta Place" to ensure her safety, the young woman travels to the...

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